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Photogenic Contest....what are the judges really looking for?

"Soo....The Photogenic Contest. What are the judges looking for? What wins?"

I can't tell you how many times I have been asked this. And, I get it. It's not a contest that is on stage, so people can't see all the entries. Of course, it raises question and people want to enter photos that will win! While this contest is easy to participate in, it's also SURPRISINGLY one of the EASIEST to do well in! So, I thought I would highlight what those judges look for and some tips to accomplish it.

But, before I share that with you, I want to point out a couple of things about the photogenic contest that you may not really be aware of, but can lead to winning additional trophies & prizes:

1. Just by entering 1 photo, you will receive a Photogenic Ribbon 
2. Enter 4 photos and you receive the Portfolio Trophy (Why? Because in the modeling industry - if you were going to "go sees" or auditions, you would be asked to bring your "portfolio." Your portfolio consists of about 4 of your best photos, so by submitting 4 photos - you have a portfolio.) However, each photo is judged separate, thus you are giving yourself 4 chances to win!
3. Each photogenic photo that you submit also earns you 1 point towards the Spirit of America trophy, which will be presented to you ON STAGE! For more details on Spirit of America CLICK HERE
4. By entering both the Optional Photogenic AND Casual Wear Modeling Contests, you will automatically be entering yourself into the Most Promising Model Contest. The winner receives a trophy, recognized on stage, and a Golden Ticket to the National Pageant in California! 
5. Remember, Photogenic is Optional and has no bearing on who becomes the next State Queen.

OK OK OK.....So back to what the judges are looking for! comes down to a criteria of 5 things to accomplish a solid photogenic score:

1. Follow the Rules.
If your photo breaks the rules, you aren't going to have a very good chance of winning this contest. For all the rules on this contest, CLICK HERE

2. Age Appropriate.
This is one of the key RULES, but I can't stress this enough. I can't tell you how many photos get turned in that are not age appropriate. An example is a 7 year old turning in a photo with a FACE FULL OF MAKEUP  (note* - you can wear makeup in your photos for ALL age groups, but it needs to be kept age appropriate) or a TEEN contestant turning in a photo that has her wearing a tiny bikini and standing in a scandalous position. If grandpa has a difficult time looking at the photo, so will our judges.

3. Quality
The Quality of the photo is important First, the actual photo. Avoid photos that are grainy, pixelated, or low resolution. This prevents the judges from seeing YOU. A nice, clear, crisp photo will do much better. Pay attention to lighting. YOu can take a well lit photo with your i-phone these days (tip - stand FACING the sun or light. The person taking the photo should stand with their back against it). Avoid putting filters on your photo. While they are cute for social media - this would not get you a professional modeling job. Also, you are required to submit a physical photo - print this out on photo paper and avoid printing this out at home on regular paper. If you were a professional model and went to a casting call for Fashion Week, would you submit a photo on printer paper? So, don't do it at NAM either.

4. Posing
Turn in a photo with a flattering pose. The judges are going to ask this somebody I would see on the cover of a magazine or a brochure? Make sure that we can clearly see you and that you are the only one in the photo. Avoid submitting photos with your family, friends, and pets. They did not enter the photogenic contest - YOU have.

5. Style
Any style of photo works. ANY! Professional works. A great photo that your dad takes in the backyard works. (I was 1st runner up at NATIONALS with a photo my Dad took on our porch!) A great selfie works. Full body shots work. Outdoor works. School Photo Works. Senior Photo Works. Headshots work. Color works. Black and white works. Do not focus on the style so much...because they all work (as long as they are keeping in with the rules).

Winning Examples:

You DO NOT have to have a professionally taken photo to win this contest. But, if you are looking to get some professional photos that you can also use for this contest, our National Photoshoot Sponsor is Brittany Link Photography. Our National Queens get flown to Houston every year for their official photoshoot with the top hair and makeup artists, wardrobe, etc...and Brittany takes behind the camera! She's also a NAM alumni and an award winning photographer who knows all about the NAM photogenic contest!

Can't wait to see what photos you turn in at this year's State Pageant!

Signing Off in NAM Style!